Five Reasons You Don’t Always Recognize Stress

By Riikka
Lamminen, Content Manager, Firstbeat

The first thing you should
know about stress is that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Stress is an
inevitable part of life, and you couldn’t cope without it. You need stress
to get things done and perform in life. It makes you feel excited and

However, stress becomes a
serious problem when it exceeds your ability to recover and bounce back
. Especially troubling
is the fact that we often don’t realize that our ability
to manage is on the decline.

Excessive stress can
manifest in many ways, and you may not always be able to
recognize whether your symptoms are the result of too much
strain or inadequate recovery. You may blame your diet
for your upset stomach or treat insomnia with drugs, but both might actually be
signals that your body is being overloaded by stress.

While the signs and
symptoms of excessive stress vary from person to
person, the stress response is a physiological phenomenon that can be
observed and measured.

The Firstbeat analytic engine
uses heartbeat data to examine the reactions of your
autonomic nervous system
. Activity in the sympathetic
branch signals stress, while parasympathetic dominance indicates rest and
recovery. As a result, hidden stress that you may not have been aware
of becomes visible and easy to manage.

All-day Stress & Recovery in your Garmin smartwatches
with stress tracking
makes activity
within your autonomous nervous system visible, and helps you to
discover how you react to the challenges of
life and whether you have the balance between stress and

The signs of
excessive stress are typically classified into four categories:
physical, emotional, behavioral and cognitive. Here are some of
the most common symptoms:

Physical Emotional Behavioral Cognitive
Headache Anxiety Change in appetite Memory problems
Stomach problems Depression Nervous habits (like nail biting) Inability to focus
Loss of sex drive Irritability Social withdrawal Poor judgment
Frequent colds or other infections Feeling overwhelmed Increased use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco Disorganization

The symptoms of prolonged
exposure to excessive stress vary widely from one person to the next, and
even knowing the symptoms can make stress-related issues difficult
to recognize.

Five reasons
why you might not recognize you are overly stressed

There are several reasons
why people don’t always recognize that they are stressed. Here are some of the
most common reasons for hidden stress.

1. Stress is not always

It is not only negative
things that cause stress. Excitement, the anticipation of
Christmas morning and the butterflies of a first date are some common examples
of pleasant emotional experiences that produce physiological stress. It is
not always easy to notice the strain of positive things, but much like
chocolate cake, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

2. Stress is not in your

Sometimes stress is
triggered by our environment, what we consume and by our
activities. Extreme temperatures trigger stress, as do noisy
environments. Sometimes even our own relaxation methods cause
stress. Alcohol is the most common source of fake relief. You
might feel relaxed after few drinks, but your body is working overtime
to handle the effects of the alcohol.

Exercise is a common way to
relieve stress, and it is a good one. However, the way exercise
decreases stress is a bit tricky. Working
out increases sympathetic activity and decreases parasympathetic
activity. The more intense the exercise, the greater the stress; however,
it has been shown that regular exercise and good fitness produce physiological
adaptations that improve your body’s ability to adjust to stress. So in
addition to other benefits of exercise, it is a great stress-buster in the long

3. Perception is reality.

Sometimes it is hard to recognize
where stress comes from because it might not be anything specific.
Stressors are not always tangible things you can nail down. You
might, for example, feel that your boss is unsatisfied with
you. Regardless of whether this is true or not, feelings of
inferiority raise your stress levels. And trying to compensate by
working overtime and pushing yourself even harder only makes matters

4. It is the overall load
that counts.

mentioned earlier, stressors can be mental or
physical, accompanied by negative or
positive emotions. Oftentimes, excessive levels of stress
are not caused by one big factor but rather a confluence
of smaller factors. Little things add up to big ones.

If you are
having a tough time at work, it is not always smart to fill
your free time with high-intensity workouts and other stress-inducing activities. Instead,
go for a walk and relax for a moment. The more strain you have in
life, the more focused you need to be on good recovery to create the right

5. High stress is the new

Unfortunately, you might be
so used to being stressed that you don’t notice that something is
wrong. Or you might have just accepted it. You might think that hectic
schedules and feeling overwhelmed are a normal part of
life. They shouldn’t be.

Firstbeat stress
monitoring technologies reveal the presence and intensity of stress
reactions in your body, even when you don’t notice them. When
hidden stress is revealed, it becomes easier to make smarter, more
personal decisions. Remember, ultimately your goal isn’t to eliminate
stress (that’s impossible). Instead, keep an eye on the amount of stress in
your life and use that insight to guide your lifestyle choices and daily

Garmin smartwatches with
All-day Stress Tracking &Recovery:

  • Venu
  • fēnix 6
  • fēnix 5
  • fēnix 5 Plus
  • Forerunner 45/45S
  • Forerunner 245/245 Music
  • Forerunner 645
  • Forerunner 945
  • vívosport
  • vívosmart 3
  • vívosmart 4
  • vívomove HR
  • vívomove Series
  • vívoactive 3/3 Music
  • vívoactive 4/4S
  • Swim 2
  • MARQ Collection
  • Instinct
  • Tactix Charlie
  • Tactix Bravo

The post Five Reasons You Don’t Always Recognize Stress appeared first on Garmin Blog.

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